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Natalie Portman aims for another Oscar as Jackie Kennedy in the 'Jackie' trailer


Jackie natalie portman

Natalie Portman has been under the radar recently as she's taken on motherhood and directing her first feature film, but the actress has proven once more that she should be in the conversation of top actresses working today with her performance in "Jackie." 

The explosive portrayal of a grieving Jackie Kennedy following the assassination of John F. Kennedy in has been receiving rave reviews since "Jackie" premiered at the Venice Film Festival. The film then found itself in an intense bidding war after it played at the Toronto International Film Festival (Fox Searchlight came out as the winning distributor). 

Portman could find herself with an Oscar nomination for the role (she won the best actress Oscar in 2011 for "Black Swan"). 

Here's the first trailer for "Jackie," which displays Portman's powerful performance alongside the movie's haunting score.

Fox Searchlight will release the film in select theaters starting December 2.

Watch the "Jackie" trailer below:


SEE ALSO: How Natalie Portman prepared for her Oscar-worthy performance as Jackie Kennedy

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Warner Bros. is trying to save 'Suicide Squad' with a longer version on Blu-ray


suicide squadDespite director David Ayer insisting there was no "parallel universe version" of this summer's semi-controversial Suicide Squad, Warner Bros. has now announced a release date for an extended cut and shared its first teaser. Suicide Squad bagged lots and lots of money at the box office, but was considered, by most accounts, a not-very-good film.

If this alternate version of Suicide Squad has anything at all in common with the extended cut of the similarly derided Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, frustrated fans may be in for a bit of cinematic justice.

suicide squad

"We have a chunk, there's definitely over 10 minutes of material on there," Ayer toldCollider in August when asked about releasing scrapped footage once the film left theaters. "But this cut of the movie is my cut, there's no sort of parallel universe version of the movie, the released movie is my cut. And that's one of the toughest things about writing, shooting, and directing a film, is you end up with these orphans and you fucking love them and you think they’d be amazing scenes and do these amazing things but the film is a dictatorship, not a democracy, and just because something's cool and charismatic doesn't mean it gets to survive in the final cut."

Jared Leto, whose Joker didn't exactly get a ton of screen time in the theatrical cut, also spoke on the potential of deleted footage with BBC Radio 1's Edith Bowman. According to Leto, there's enough there to give Joker his own damn movie. "I think I brought so much to the table in every scene that it was probably more about filtering all of the insanity," Leto said in August. "I wanted to give a lot of options, and I think there's probably enough footage in this film for a Joker movie."

But a Joker movie isn't happening anytime soon. All eyes right now are on Margot Robbie's Harley Quinn spin-off, effectively confirmed last month when the Hollywood Reporterannounced Robbie’s first-look deal with Warner Bros. The deal, a partnership with Robbie's own LuckyChap Entertainment, includes the untitled Harley Quinn spin-off that's reportedly set to also feature "other DC heroines."

The extended cut of Suicide Squad hits Digital HD Nov. 15 and Blu-ray Dec. 13.

SEE ALSO: The reviews of 'Suicide Squad' are here, and people hate it

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Daniel Radcliffe is sitting on a $100 million fortune — and barely spending any of it


daniel radcliffe gold

Daniel Radcliffe has a whole lot of Harry Potter money, but the Brit isn't living lavishly.

He says in a new interview that since his last time starring in the franchise, 2011's "Deathly Hallows — Part 2," his fortune has mostly gone unspent.

"I don't really do anything with my money," the actor recently told the Belfast Telegraph"I'm very grateful for it, because having money means you don't have to worry about it, which is a very lovely freedom to have. It also gives me immense freedom, career-wise."

CBS News estimates Radcliffe's earnings from the Potter films at about $95.6 million.

In the interview, Radcliffe admits he's very content to keep working on films, and he'd rather focus on the quality stuff than "make loads of money on crap films."

“I don’t know what my life looks like without regularly being on a film set. I’d go crazy. I’m one of the lucky few who loves my job," he said.

In fact, his love of movies seems to get a bit morbid. On how he'd like to die, he said: "On a film set, ideally. I want to ruin someone’s day. I want to have them suddenly go, ‘Dan’s just dropped dead in front of the camera; we have to get his double on.’"

SEE ALSO: 100 movies on Netflix that everyone needs to watch in their lifetime

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Shia LaBeouf is Oscar-ready in first look at John McEnroe biopic


shia labeoufIf Shia LaBeouf's top-tier performance in Andrea Arnold's American Honey has you wondering what dude has up his sleeve in the years ahead, look no further than the bombastic career of tennis legend John McEnroe. LaBeouf will portray the Grand Slam icon in Janus Metz Pedersen's Borg/McEnroe, a biopic chronicling the famous rivalry between McEnroe and Björn Borg (Sverrir Gudnason).

giphy 2

Speaking to Variety surrounding the Cannes premiere of American Honey in May, LaBeouf said he was initially drawn to the project after reading the "brilliant" script. "We are all here because of that," LaBeouf said of Ronnie Sandahl's writing. "I cried the first time I read it. It's not based on a book or a biography. It's based on hard work."

LaBeouf previously passed on a separate McEnroe film, citing its Sandler-esque levels of shi---ness. "It was another movie called Superbrat about John McEnroe, and it was satirical, like a cartoon character like Happy Gilmore," LaBeouf told Variety. "And you know, I read it, it wasn't very good and I initially thought it was the same project. But then I saw his name [Janus Metz Pedersen] and I thought, 'No, that doesn't make any fucking sense.' And I was a fan of his film."

shia labeouf

And how does the consistently outspoken McEnroe feel about the movie? Well, let's go with very McEnroe-y. "It doesn't seem like they are all that interested in talking with me," McEnroe toldVanity Fair in September. "I don't know how you can do it without ever meeting me. Maybe you could talk to a few of my friends. I can barely remember what I was like 36 years ago when I was 21 years old. It could be entertaining. If it's good, it'd be cool. Let's hope."

Borg/McEnroe, which is currently in production in Prague, is expected to hit theaters at some point in 2017.

SEE ALSO: 27 movies you have to see this fall

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I've been waiting all year to see 'The Birth of a Nation,' but the film's controversy has me rethinking my decision


The Birth of a Nation 2016

I’ve been looking forward to the movie "The Birth of a Nation" since I first heard about it in January. The story of a black Virginian, Nat Turner, who led a massive slave uprising in 1831 will finally be released in theaters October 7. The movie has the chance to redefine a crucial moment in film and pop culture history. At the same time, it is marred with controversy leaving many, myself included, with the decision of whether or not to even see it.

Critics praised the movie when it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival. Not only did it win the top prize, but it was also sold to Fox Searchlight for $17.5 million, a record-breaking Sundance deal. But since August a different narrative emerged.

"The Birth of a Nation" has been scrutinized because of previous rape allegations against the film’s director and star, Nate Parker, and a sexual assault conviction that was later overturned against the film’s co-writer, Jean Celestin. Though the allegations aren't new, Parker and Searchlight have been on the defense in the months leading up to the film's release.

Now that the movie's almost here, there's one fundamental question I’m stuck asking myself — whether or not it’s possible, or acceptable, to separate a work of art from the artists who make it.

Nate Parker

Allegations of Sexual Assault

Parker has been in Hollywood for a while. Not only did he write "The Birth of a Nation," but he also makes his directorial debut in the film. Parker penned the film with his friend Jean Celestin. Both men were charged in 2001 for sexually assaulting the same woman back in 1999 when they attended Penn State.

Parker and a then 18-year-old woman, who requested to remain anonymous in the trial, went out on a date. She claimed to have blacked out, only to wake up to Parker and later Celestin performing unwanted sexual acts with her. Both men maintain that the woman was not unconscious and was consenting. Parker was found not guilty of sexual assault, while Celestin was initially convicted of assaulting the woman. Celestin's conviction was overturned when he appealed the lower court's decision in 2005. In August, news broke that the woman at the center of the case died by suicide in 2012

Complicating matters further, the film depicts a brutal rape, which some have called exploitative. It may be difficult to watch this scene knowing the director's own history with sexual assault.

A Film with Huge Potential

Before I heard about the filmmaker’s dark past,"The Birth of Nation" was the movie I was most excited to see this year. I was hooked from the moment I heard its title.

There’s another famous film called "The Birth of a Nation." It’s a silent, black-and-white film that came out in 1915. I like to watch classic movies, but this is one I’ve actively avoided, and for good reason. The movie, set during the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, is based on the novel and play called "The Clansmen." In it, people of color are depicted as animistic and sexually aggressive. The NAACP unsuccessfully tried to get the movie banned. In addition to the misrepresentation of black men, the Ku Klux Klan, whose members are the embodiment of racial hatred, are characterized as heroes in the film.

The Birth of a Nation 1915

Despite such deplorable content, 1915’s "The Birth of a Nation" has taken a prominent place in film history for the groundbreaking way it used the film medium to tell a story. It is a milestone in the evolution of movie making.

2016’s "The Birth of a Nation" could change the way we think about the 1915 film. I imagine it would be similar to the transformation of the name Edmund Pettus in American history. Pettus was a notorious segregationist and the highest-ranking member of the Alabama Ku Klux Klan at one point. He even had a bridge named after him in the state.

Bloody Sunday

Today, when we hear his name another image comes to mind. We think of the 600 protesters who planned a march across Alabama for the protection of their right to vote. The peaceful marchers were met by police in gas masks when they crossed the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. Officers threw teargas and marchers were beaten with bats on a day that came to be known as Bloody Sunday. 50 years after that violent clash, the nation's first black president visited that bridge to remember it as a place where Americans fought for freedom. That bridge and the name Edmund Pettus have been fundamentally redefined.

So with this new "The Birth of a Nation," I began to wonder if the same kind of thing could happen. I hoped the racist images that the first film conjured would be replaced or at least joined by the image of a slave fighting for his freedom. For me, as a black American film lover, that would be a powerful shift.

Should personal history impact the film?

Gabrielle Union

One of Parker’s costars in the film, Gabrielle Union, is a rape survivor. In September, Union wrote an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times after news resurfaced about Parker's assault allegations. Union wrote that as important as this new movie is, she couldn't take the allegations of rape lightly. She said learning about the allegations left her, "in a state of stomach-churning confusion."

To some degree, Union’s words describe how I feel, along with so many others who are debating whether to support the film, and by default, the filmmakers. Is it okay to support artists with such sordid histories?

My opinion is that it is possible separate a work of art from the artist, and a film from its filmmakers. Many in the black community had a difficult time coming to terms with the mounting assault accusations against Bill Cosby because "The Cosby Show" helped change the image of the black family in American media landscape. My colleague grew up reading Roald Dahl's books, only to later learn that Dahl would have hated him because he is Jewish. Are the achievements of "The Cosby Show" or the influence of Dahl automatically erased because we know of their flaws?

I don't think life is as simple as good versus bad. Though it may seem paradoxical, an artist can create good, and even important work, while being incredibly problematic. 

So I will go see "The Birth of Nation" because I think the story of Nat Turner is one worth sharing. But I can understand if you choose not see the movie. At the end of the day, each person decides where to draw the line. For some, an artist's past will understandably prevent them from seeing a film. Thursday night, a group of sexual assault victims plan to protest the "The Birth of a Nation" in Hollywood when the film is released. 

No artist is perfect and some are deeply flawed. At this point in my life, I’ve learned being disappointed by my heroes is more the rule than the exception. Despite their controversies, I still enjoy Shakespeare’s plays, Woody Allen’s movies, and even some of R. Kelly’s songs. I’ll see if 2016’s "The Birth of a Nation" lives up to all the hype.

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Here's how big 'Star Wars' ships are compared to real-life objects


star wars the force awakens episode 7 millennium falcon

Exactly how big is the Millennium Falcon? How about Kylo Ren's Command Shuttle?

We used measurements from "Star Wars: the Force Awakens" book "Incredible Cross-Sections" to compare the ships in the new film to iconic monuments and real-world animals and objects.

Keep reading to see how big the Millennium Falcon, Rey's speeder, and more are in real life.

SEE ALSO: Here's everything we know so far about 'Star Wars: Episode VIII'

Let's start with something relatively small. Rey's Speeder isn't too large.

You could compare Poe Dameron's X-Wing to the size of a yacht.

Other ships are a lot larger. If you've ever seen the Rockefeller Christmas tree in person, Han Solo's ship would just edge it out.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Netflix will start screening original films in movie theaters (NFLX)


Movie Theater AttendanceThis story was delivered to BI Intelligence "Digital Media Briefing" subscribers. To learn more and subscribe, please click here.

Netflix has partnered with luxury theatre chain iPic Entertainment to provide same-day release of its content in theaters, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The deal marks a horizontal expansion by Netflix into a space traditionally occupied by its Hollywood rivals, and represents another advance in the company’s ambitions to be a bona fide film studio for the 21st century.

Over the next year, Netflix will show at least 10 films across iPic’s 15 US locations, starting with a screening of “The Siege of Jadotville” on October 7. This will make up the majority of Netflix’s original films for the year, and there’s a possibility of extending the deal to include more content. iPic, meanwhile, is in the process of building 20 more multiplexes around America. The Netflix-iPic partnership has several implications for the streaming giant’s strategy:

  • Creating a new way to enjoy Netflix. The partnership aims to play into people’s evolving movie-consumption habits by honing in on an upscale out-of-home viewing experience. A pioneer with its in-theatre dining and oversized leather recliners, iPic specializes in giving customers a taste of luxury, as reflected in the chain’s higher-than-average $30 ticket prices. The fact that nearly all (98%) iPic customers subscribe to a streaming service, with many (84%) subscribing to Netflix, could play in favorably to consumer preferences.
  • Netflix has experimented with movie releases before. It debuted "Beasts of No Nation" last year on its platform and in 31 theatres in 30 US cities, and eventually brought the film to 50 theatres nationwide. Although it flopped in theatres — making only $90,000, according to comScore figures cited by the Journal — Netflix’s chief content officer Ted Sarandos endorsed the release strategy as way to expand the range of opportunities for experiencing the film.
  • But this is the first long-term deal between Netflix and an exhibitor. In light of lackluster sales for “Beasts of No Nation,” Netflix and iPic ran another proof-of-concept test by releasing Netflix’s “The Little Prince” on iPic's big screens early this year. The film sold out nearly every seat for the entire length of the run, according to Sarandos, demonstrating that a Netflix-iPic tie could work.
  • And it needs to warm other exhibitors to the thought of partnering up. AMC, Regal, Cinemark, and Carmike — the four largest movie theatres in the US — refused to screen“Beasts of No Nation” last year, because they didn’t want to honor Netflix’s rejection of “windowed” film releases, which typically guarantee a 90-day delay between theatrical and home releases. Netflix could face a strong opponent in AMC, which is majority-owned by the Dalian Wanda Group — a company that has been aggressively strengthening its position the US film industry.
  • It’s also another avenue for Netflix to boost its brand and drive revenue. Premiering content in iPic’s luxury theatres will help validate Netflix’s movies as real-deal, high-quality productions in the same category as Hollywood films. This could also drive signups for Netflix, which has experienced a slowdown in user growth in the US, though Sarandos doesn’t believe that additions to the company’s existing 47 million US subscribers will be significant. It could also create a new and meaningful revenue stream for Netflix from theatre sales.
  • Fundamentally, it's about Netflix reinventing the movie industry. This is Netflix's latest move to redefine “movies” and disrupt industry status quo. The company wants to collapse the notion that movies are tied to the blockbuster lineup, and is trying to eradicate Hollywood’s windowing business rules that prevent consumers from watching films at home until months after the first release in theatres. In doing so, Netflix is revamping what it means to be a film studio in the 21st century.

Over the last few years, there’s been much talk about the “death of TV.” However, television is not dying so much as it's evolving: extending beyond the traditional television screen and broadening to include programming from new sources accessed in new ways.

It's strikingly evident that more consumers are shifting their media time away from live TV, while opting for services that allow them to watch what they want, when they want. Indeed, we are seeing a migration toward original digital video such as YouTube Originals, SVOD services such as Netflix, and live streaming on social platforms.

However, not all is lost for legacy media companies. Amid this rapidly shifting TV landscape, traditional media companies are making moves across a number of different fronts — trying out new distribution channels, creating new types of programming aimed at a mobile-first audience, and partnering with innovate digital media companies. In addition, cable providers have begun offering alternatives for consumers who may no longer be willing to pay for a full TV package.

Dylan Mortensen, senior research analyst for BI Intelligence, has compiled a detailed report on the future of TV that looks at how TV viewer, subscriber, and advertising trends are shifting, and where and what audiences are watching as they turn away from traditional TV. 

Here are some key points from the report:

  • Increased competition from digital services like Netflix and Hulu as well as new hardware to access content are shifting consumers' attention away from live TV programming.
  • Across the board, the numbers for live TV are bad. US adults are watching traditional TV on average 18 minutes fewer per day versus two years ago, a drop of 6%. In keeping with this, cable subscriptions are down, and TV ad revenue is stagnant.
  • People are consuming more media content than ever before, but how they're doing so is changing. Half of US TV households now subscribe to SVOD services, like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu, and viewing of original digital video content is on the rise.
  • Legacy TV companies are recognizing these shifts and beginning to pivot their business models to keep pace with the changes. They are launching branded apps and sites to move their programming beyond the TV glass, distributing on social platforms to reach massive, young audiences, and forming partnerships with digital media brands to create new content.
  • The TV ad industry is also taking a cue from digital. Programmatic TV ad buying represented just 4% (or $2.5 billion) of US TV ad budgets in 2015 but is expected to grow to 17% ($10 billion) by 2019. Meanwhile, networks are also developing branded TV content, similar to publishers' push into sponsored content.

In full, the report: 

  • Outlines the shift in consumer viewing habits, specifically the younger generation.
  • Explores the rise of subscription streaming services and the importance of original digital video content.
  • Breaks down ways in which legacy media companies are shifting their content and advertising strategies.
  • And Discusses new technology that will more effectively measure audiences across screens and platforms. 

Interested in getting the full report? Here are two ways to access it:

  1. Subscribe to an All-Access pass to BI Intelligence and gain immediate access to this report and over 100 other expertly researched reports. As an added bonus, you'll also gain access to all future reports and daily newsletters to ensure you stay ahead of the curve and benefit personally and professionally. » START A MEMBERSHIP
  2. Purchase & download the full report from our research store. »BUY THE REPORT

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One of the biggest Xbox games ever made, 'Gears of War' is getting its own movie


Gears of War 4

One of Microsoft's biggest video game exclusives, the "Gears of War" franchise, is getting adapted for the big screen.

"We have a partnership with Universal Studios and 'Gears of War' is getting a movie," franchise development director Rod Fergusson announced on a "Gears of War 4" livestream on Wednesday.

Rather than focusing on the story or characters of any one "Gears of War" game, the film will instead pull concepts, characters, and plot from the games to create something entirely new.

"The thing about the way you do a movie like this, you have to realize it's a different medium with a different audience," Fergusson said. "If you were to go in and say it's going to be 100% faithful to the game canon, or the story of the game, what's going to happen is it's not going to be the best movie. What we're going to focus on is making the best 'Gears' movie possible, as opposed to one that's closest to the games."

In a world where every game series, from "Double Dragon" to "Super Mario Bros.," has its own film, it's surprising that the beloved "Gears of War" video game franchise doesn't already have a series of silver screen adaptations.

Double Dragon (Movie)

The game's already got iconic characters and locations — given the series' focus on chainsawing man-sized aliens in half, it's not exactly known for its cinematic storytelling. It looks like the film adaptation, which is still in pre-production, will aim to fill that missing component.

"There's a lot of source material to pull stuff out of, but you have to make a movie story," Fergusson said.

He also addressed the mercurial nature of these video game to film projects — frankly speaking: Many are optioned, few actually get made. Microsoft spent years trying to make a movie based on its popular "Halo" video game franchise, to no avail.

"We're still early," he said. "I'm not announcing a director, I'm not announcing a writer. We're still early in pre-production, working through that stuff, but the fact that we're locked into a partnership, we know a movie's gonna happen, it's just a matter of making it."

There is no planned release window for the "Gears of War" film; the newest game in the series, "Gears of War 4," launches on October 11 for both Xbox One and Windows 10-based PCs.

SEE ALSO: The 20 games you can't miss this holiday

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J.K. Rowling just gave us 4 major clues about the 'Harry Potter' spinoff movies


fantastic beasts trailer

J.K. Rowling, has a new short story out on Pottermore that tells us about the early years of The Magical Congress of the United States of America (MACUSA), the governing body for witches and wizards in the United States.

It's the third Rowling story about magic in North America, following an overarching history of magic over six centuries and a detailed backstory on Ilvermorny, the North American wizarding school.

It's also the last story we'll get before the release of "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" on November 18, a movie written by Rowling about the adventures of a wizard named Newt Scamander in 1920s New York.

What does Rowling's new story tell us about the movie? Here's what we learned:

Newt Scamander will be breaking the law — a wizard befriending a "No-Maj" is illegal in America

Fantastic Beasts Trailer

Throughout its history, MACUSA has been all about keeping wizards and witches away from No-Majs (American English for "Muggle"). The government's first home base was in the Appalachian Mountains, far from most No-Majs, and didn't move to the cities until the wizarding population there grew. MACUSA also took no official position in the Revolutionary War.

And in 1790, MACUSA passed Rappaport’s Law, one of the most significant laws in its history. It totally segregated magical folk and No-Majs, making even intermarriage and friendship with No-Majs illegal. The law remained intact in the 1920s, during Scamander's arrival in New York.

So the overriding tension of "Fantastic Beasts" seems to be about hiding the magical world from the No-Maj communityNewt Scamander, a British wizard played by Eddie Redmayne, will not be making that easy after he befriends a No-Maj in his quest to find the magical creatures that escaped from his suitcase.

Serious breaches of MACUSA law in America are punishable by death

Thunderbird Fantastic beasts

Scamander, given his earlier expulsion from Hogwarts, is prone to getting into trouble. Based on the latest trailer, it looks like Scamander unleashed a few magical animals in New York, and American magical law enforcement has to crack down on them before they cause too much havoc.

Rowling's backstory tells us just how severe Scamander's punishment could be. Unlike other countries, the magical government and the non-magical government in America simply haven't collaborated historically. If Scamander unleashed magical animals in America's biggest city that would reveal the magical world to No-Majs, it's a huge deal.

How big a deal? Rowling explains, "Whereas British witches and wizards were sent to Azkaban [for committing a serious crime], the worst criminals in America were executed."

Things are not looking good for Scamander.

Newt Scamander will be running from one of the best aurors in the country

Fantastic beasts trailer

Percival Graves (Colin Farrell), the head auror or magical law enforcement officer of MACUSA during Scamander's time there, was a descendant of Gondulphus Graves, one of the first dozen aurors in the United States. Those original twelve wizards are revered for risking their lives to protect the magical community and tracking down dangerous Scourers, basically helping establish a legal order for American wizardry.

"The descendants of these witches and wizards have been given particular respect in the US ever since," Rowling writes. 

So Scamander is dealing with someone serious with a reputation to lose — it's likely Graves will be passionate about catching Scamander before he accidentally exposes the magical community with his creatures. Who knows to what lengths he'll go?

Scamander will also be battling against people who want to expose (and wipe out) the magical community

Fantastic Beasts trailer

MACUSA's first challenge after it was inaugurated was to rid the continent of Scourers, "corrupt wizards who had hunted their fellow magical beings for personal gain." They were kind of like wizard bounty hunters that trafficked in other wizards, and sentenced some of them to death while serving as judges in the Salem Witch Trials. Because of the Scourers, North America was a dangerous place for wizards.

MACUSA largely succeeded in its goal, but several Scourers eluded justice, hiding within the No-Maj community. "The vengeful Scourers, cast out from their people, passed on to their descendants an absolute conviction that magic was real, and the belief that witches and wizards ought to be exterminated wherever they were found,"Rowling writes. Scourer descendants who buy into that philosophy are on the lookout for magic, and occasionally threaten to reveal magic to the world.

In "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," we know that two characters, Mary Lou Barebone and her son Credence, are members of the Second Salemers, a No-Maj group that wants to destroy witches and wizards. Sounds like they're descendants of Scourers, and could throw a major wrench into the plot, especially if Scamander's actions are threatening to expose the magical world at large.

"Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them" hits theaters November 18.


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How Natalie Portman nailed her incredible, Oscar-favorite performance as Jackie Kennedy


NataliePortman Jackie TIFF

The Toronto International Film Festival is often where Oscar hype is born, and that's certainly the case with Natalie Portman and her latest movie "Jackie."

The actress's stirring performance as First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy during the aftermath of JFK's assassination was the talk of the festival recently, and word of mouth has only increased since the release of the first trailer. That's largely because many believe she's a shoo-in for an Oscar nomination. 

Having seen the movie, we can say that Portman, who previously won an Oscar for her starring role in 2010's "Black Swan," has the look and unique voice of Kennedy down perfectly, which took a lot of preparation leading up to filming.

"I read every biography I could get my hands on," she told Business Insider recently. "And we recreated a lot of the White House tour for the film, so that was helpful to see how she walks and how she moves and her facial expressions."

The movie follows Kennedy as she recounts to a reporter the assassination and planning of her husband's funeral. But the movie also shows the different personas Kennedy had in front of different people — a debutante in public but feisty and no-nonsense behind closed doors.

Portman picked up on that personality-switching in her research, which included listening to recorded interviews Kennedy did with biographer Arthur Schlesinger.

"When she was doing interviews, [her voice] was a lot more girly and soft, and then when you hear her talking to Schlesinger at home, you hear the ice in the glass clinking and the voice is a little deeper and her wit comes out more," Portman said. "So you get this real sense of the two sides."

"Jackie" will open in theaters on December 9.

SEE ALSO: Natalie Portman talks directing her first movie and why you'll never see her on social media

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'The Birth of a Nation' is a powerful movie you need to see — despite all the controversy


The Birth of a Nation Elliot Davis

For the foreseeable future, Nate Parker's directorial debut "The Birth of a Nation," which was the big winner at Sundance earlier this year, will be shrouded in the recent news of a rape accusation against its writer-director-star-producer while at Penn State in the late 1990s.

How that will affect the movie's box office and award-season chances is another story.

Here we'll delve into the movie itself, which focuses on Nat Turner (played by Parker), the slave who led a rebellion against the white masters of Southampton County, Virginia, in the 1830s.

A passion project for Parker, who spent years putting it together on his own terms, the movie is an ambitious undertaking for a first-time director. Having enough money to pull off a period piece is essential, but so is possessing the talent to build a compelling story that looks at the life of a person few know about.

The production values and beautiful cinematography make for an authentic 1800s South, but the tone is a slow burn. At times the movie is a slog as we go through the childhood of Turner, who is taught to read by the wife of the plantation owner (played by Penelope Ann Miller). He's taught the Bible, as other books are only for whites and he "wouldn't understand them," he's told.

the birth of a nation fox searchlightIt's when Turner becomes an adult and is told by a master (Armie Hammer) to travel with him to other plantations to preach to fellow slaves to lift their spirits (as rumors have started of emancipation) that the movie finds its groove.

Powered by Parker's emotional portrayal of Turner, the sermons give a jolt the movie needs, and the momentum builds as we begin to see the other slaves on the plantation with Turner begin to flock to him as a person who can lead them to a better future. 

That future involves killing their masters and forming an army that can overtake a nearby armory, where with guns they can take on any foe who comes at them.

News has spread since "The Birth of a Nation" premiered at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year that one of the filmmakers Parker turned to for advice was Mel Gibson, and that is evident.

Parker's movie has a "Braveheart" feel, from the plot of a man attempting to overpower an oppressor to the bloody battle sequences. But you can also find an homage to an African-American writer-director-producer-star previous to Turner.

A shot of Turner running through the woods at the conclusion of the movie harks back to the end of Melvin Van Peebles' 1971 landmark "Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song," in which Sweetback runs into the night being chased by police with dogs.

The last 15 minutes of "Birth of a Nation" are its highlight. A stirring score matches the action on-screen, and among the savagery, Parker inserts lasting imagery, like a butterfly on the coat of a dead child.

Parker's talents in front of and behind the camera in this movie are undeniable. It remains to be seen if the open questions around the rape accusation, and subsequently the cloud hovering above the film itself, will cause audiences to miss that talent.

SEE ALSO: The 16 best Tom Hanks performances ever, ranked

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11 good movies to watch on Hulu this month


groundhog day

I’m here to tell you that there’s a cinematic streaming goldmine available on Hulu that includes recent hits, older classics, domestic releases, and foreign imports. It’s even home to hundreds of Criterion titles (for now). Sure there’s plenty of filler and seemingly thousands of titles I’ve never heard of before, but I’m here to recommend some good movies (and maybe even some “good” movies) to watch this October on Hulu.

Pick of the Month: Pontypool (2008)

A virus is spreading through the city, but rather than be transmitted via fluids or bites this particular zombie-like illness is being shared through spoken words. Bruce McDonald’s unique, single-location thriller understands the power of language as evident by both its plot and its dialogue. The characters here are smart, funny, and believable, and as the terror grows it’s both fascinating and frightening.

Chinatown (1974)

A Los Angeles private eye (Jack Nicholson) is hired to catch a cheating spouse, but the trail leads to murder, corruption, and an inescapable conspiracy. Can you believe some people have gone decades as movie lovers without ever seeing this marvelously bleak noir? It’s true, and after finally watching it earlier this year I’ve — I mean that hypothetical film fan — realized it’s a goddamn masterpiece. Everything from the performances, to Roman Polanski’s direction, to Robert Towne’s script is pure Hollywood perfection.

Class (1983)

A new kid (Andrew McCarthy) at an elite private school has a tough time fitting in but finds acceptance in an older woman’s (Jacqueline Bisset) bed before realizing she’s his roommate’s (Rob Lowe) mom. There are so many recognizable faces in this movie — John Cusack! Alan Ruck! Cliff Robertson! Virginia Madsen! Joan Cusack! — and while seeing their younger selves is fun the film itself is actually a pretty solid coming of age tale to boot. Some laughs, some heart, some rousing dramatic beats, this is an under seen piece of ’80s cinema.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 15 biggest box-office flops of all time


Green Lantern

Box office flops come in all shapes and sizes: comedies, dramas, sci-fis and more can all be afflicted by low worldwide gross sales.

The films that are generally affected do have one thing in common, though: large budgets. Big-budget films are a risk for studios, with millions of dollars thrown into a product that might not end up resonating with audiences.

Some fail due to stereotypical plots; others due to bad critic reviews; others due to stiff competition from films that appeal more to moviegoers.

Whatever the reason for failure, the fact of the matter is that a big box office bomb can result in a tens of millions of dollars hit against a studio which can set back their yearly earnings, and sometimes result in bankruptcy. Movies fail all the time, but some of them fail big.

Here are the 15 biggest box office flops of all time:

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15. "Jupiter Ascending"

Sci-fi films from the Wachowski siblings have a history of doing well, with The Matrixseries and V for Vendetta both achieving critical and commercial success. However, 2015’s Jupiter Ascending did not follow the same path.

The film, which starred Mila Kunis, Channing Tatum, Sean Bean, and Eddie Redmayne, followed an interplanetary warrior and a cleaning woman who finds out that she is galactic royalty. The film received general negative reviews, with the only part earning praise being the most expensive: the visual effects. The film crafted entire worlds, requiring expensive sets, costumes, make-up, and prosthetics.

Because of the film’s expensive requirements and huge star power, it racked up a budget of $176 million, meaning that it needed to make a lot in order to be a box office success. Unfortunately, with lukewarm reviews and high competition from The Spongebob Movie: Sponge Out of Water and American Sniper, the film was not able to recoup its large budget. Jupiter Ascending made slightly over $47 million domestic with an additional $136.6 million in foreign countries for a total of almost $184 million, not nearly enough to make up the film’s budget and marketing. It is estimated that the film lost Warner Bros. over $80 million.

14. "Evan Almighty"

Evan Almighty, the Steve Carrell-starring follow up to Jim Carrey’s Bruce Almighty, was the most expensive comedy of all time at the time of its production (it would later be surpassed by other high-budget films like Men in Black III). The reasoning is the film’s plot: the story follows Carrell’s Evan Baxter as a surrogate for the biblical Noah trying to prevent a flood in his city, but, eventually, the very expensive CGI flood, complete with very expensive CGI animals, does happen.

The film wound up with a $175 million budget (over original projections of $140 million), hitting more than $200 million after marketing. The film’s money was ill-spent, as it received generally negative reviews from critics and even earned a Razzie Award nomination for Worst Prequel or Sequel (although it lost out on the honor to Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Daddy Day Camp). The film ended up earning $173 million worldwide and is estimated to have lost studios over $88 million.

13. "Green Lantern"

Green Lanternis one of the most notorious super movie flops around. The film, which starred Ryan Reynolds as the titular hero and also featured Blake Lively, Angela Bassett, Mark Strong and Peter Sarsgaard, was one of the first superhero projects that future Arrow-verse creator Greg Berlanti worked on, and, needless to say, there were still some kinks to be worked out. Star Reynolds even went on to make fun of the film in his future, much better received superhero film Deadpool.

Green Lantern was filmed on a $200 million budget, not including marketing costs, with The Hollywood Reporter estimating that, in order for the film to be a success for the studio, it would need to gross over $500 million. It didn’t come anywhere close, earning a worldwide total of $219.8 million. But hey, at least this film gave us Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively’s marriage.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

The 'Blade Runner' sequel that's been awaited for years finally has a title and release date


blade runner

Warner Bros. released the title and release date for the "Blade Runner" sequel on Thursday. 

"Blade Runner 2049" will open in theaters on October 6, 2017. 

Harrison Ford reprises the role of Rick Deckard from the original, which is based on a Philip K. Dick novel. The sequel will take place several decades after the original film, and will also star Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, and Robin Wright.

Rumors of a "Blade Runner" sequel in development have been around for years following the influential original, but it's exciting to see it coming to fruition.

The new movie will be directed by Denis Villeneuve, who is one of the most sought-after directors working today coming off hits like "Prisoners,""Sicario," and the upcoming sci-fi movie "Arrival."

The original "Blade Runner," which came out in 1982 and was directed by Ridley Scott (who is a producer on the sequel), has since become a favorite of sci-fi fans. The movie had a $27.5 million theatrical run ($81.2 million counting inflation).

SEE ALSO: How Natalie Portman nailed her incredible, Oscar-favorite performance as Jackie Kennedy

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A new horror movie you've never heard of will literally make you scream


under the shadow babak anvari

There's a gem of a movie you probably haven't heard of coming out on Friday, that is if you don't mind feeling scared close to death.

The midnight section at the Sundance Film Festival can be hit or miss, but when the program is done right, it includes some of the best movies at the festival, and that was certainly true this year for "Under the Shadow," from a first-time Iranian filmmaker who has looked back on his memories growing up through the Iran-Iraq War in 1980s Tehran to make the chilling debut.

Horror movies have been used perfectly over the decades to comment on topical issues within the US — from civil rights in 1968's "Night of the Living Dead" to the Big-Brother-is-watching-you angle of 1988's "They Live." But only recently have filmmakers of Middle Eastern descent begun to tell such stories on an international stage in a significant way.

"Under the Shadow" director Babak Anvari will quickly be compared to Iranian-American filmmaker Ana Lily Amirpour, as she also used the horror genre to explore living in Iran with her acclaimed 2014 film "A Girl Walks Home Alone." But both stories are different in tone and style, with "Alone" shot in black and white and focusing more on female isolation, while "Under the Shadow" has slick camera work and tackles a family dynamic.

"This is a personal story about what I remember as a child and what my family went through, other Iranians went through" during the war, Anvari told Business Insider at Sundance in January. "I used all those memories and put a horror twist on it."

The film focuses on Shideh (Narges Rashidi) and her daughter Dorsa (Avin Manshadi), who have a hot-and-cold relationship that only gets more challenged when Shideh's husband is sent off to serve in the war while Iraqi air raids rain down on their apartment complex.

Under The Shadow Sundance Film Festival finalThe terror of that setting is elevated when Dorsa tells her mother that an invisible figure — or as they call it, djinn, a spirit that steals those they want to posses — keeps entering their place and has stolen her favorite doll.

The tension and scares only increase from there. As neighbors begin to leave because of the bombings, Dorsa becomes ill and Shideh realizes that what Dorsa tells her may be true.

"From day one I felt like this was a great setting for a horror," Anvari said. "Tehran at that time was very intense and dark because of the war."

Babak Anvari Under the Shadow Sundane Film FestivalAnvari, who lives in London now and hasn't been back to Iran in close to five years, remembers as a child staying up late at night to watch VHS tapes of his favorite horror movies. Anvari points out that at that time VCRs were illegal to own.

"I was influenced by horrors, but they freaked me out," he said. "My parents realized what I was doing and banned me from watching horrors."

But he was already hooked. Writing the "Under the Shadow" script on spec, he found the support of producers Emily Leo and Oliver Roskill, who were able to put together financing through their own production deal and a grant from the Doha Film Institute to shoot the film in Jordan last year.

Though there are some computer-generated scares, most of the things that will frighten you are just good old-fashioned tricks that were used by the masters, like Dario Argento ("Suspiria") and Wes Craven ("Scream").

It's been a long time since I've heard actual screams in a movie theater, and they could be heard numerous times throughout the screening of "Under the Shadow" I attended.

It certainly got buyers' attention. Netflix bought worldwide streaming rights to the movie on the first day of the festival. Then two days later, Vertical Entertainment and XYZ Films announced that they were teaming up to give the film a theatrical/VOD day-and-date release, which begins on Friday.

But Anvari is realistic about where the film can be released and where it can't — like in Iran.

"Someone will buy it off the street," he said, referring to the bootleg-movie market in Iran. "It would be great to show it there. I don't feel I offend anyone, but my guess is it will be a bootleg version they see."

"Under The Shadow" opens in theaters on Friday.

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Netflix CEO: Movie theaters are 'strangling the movie business' (NFLX)


reed hastings netflix new yorker tech festNetflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks the state of film is a "real tragedy" and that movie theaters are "strangling the movie business," he said at The New Yorker's TechFest on Friday.

Netflix has long faced off against the giants of the movie theater business, who have largely refused to show Netflix's original films in theaters because of Netflix's commitment to making them available to stream on the same day they appear on the big screen.

That could be changing — but only a little bit.

Netflix recently came to a deal with iPic Entertainment, a luxury theater company, to screen 10 of its films as they become available online. Ted Sarandos, Netflix's head of content, characterized this as a “substantial” portion of Netflix’s original movies for the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. That's good news for Netflix, but the company's relationship with the powers that be in the movie industry has been generally ice cold.

On Friday, Hastings came down hard on these theater owners, saying there had been no innovation in the movie theater business in recent years, even as TV has been shaped by the rise of cable and internet networks. "Money" and "innovation" has flooded to the TV industry, Hastings said. Not so with film.

The movie theater business has seen flatline revenue, Hastings said. Part of the problem is that small movies, such as many Netflix has snagged from places like Sundance, would be better distributed both at home and in theaters.

That's a convenient position for Netflix to take, but Hastings said the movie studios feel the same way. Each movie studio would like to "break the oligopoly" of the theaters, but "they don't know how," he continued. If they collude to face the theaters, it's anti-trust, but if they are the ones to take the first step, their films will get killed. That means they just go along with the status quo.

"It's a bad dynamic," Hastings said.

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19 famous movies that have been banned around the world



If you ever question the power of cinema, all you need to do is check out the movies that have been banned in different areas of the world over the past 100-plus years to reaffirm the grip the medium has on people.

Whether it be for political reasons ("The Great Dictator,""Zoolander"), religious reasons ("The Last Temptation of Christ"), or just because of the use of specific colors ("The Simpsons Movie"), all kinds of movies have been blocked from being shown based on some perceived offense.

Here are 19 well-known movies that have been banned:



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"The Battle of Algiers"

A landmark faux-documentary about the Algerian War in the late 1950s and early 1960s against the French government in North Africa, the movie was banned in France for six years due to its pro-Algerian message.  

"Battleship Potemkin"

This classic 1925 silent movie dramatizing the mutiny of a Russian battleship in 1905 led to it being banned in Nazi Germany and numerous other countries at the time of its release due to fears that it would cause a Marxist revolution. Now it's taught in film courses everywhere.

"A Clockwork Orange"

Stanley Kubrick's classic movie about an ultraviolent teen went so far in showing horrific antics, including house invasion and rape, that numerous countries banned the film for decades. In fact, in the United Kingdom it was withdrawn from theaters because Kubrick and his family were receiving death threats. The film didn't play again in the UK until the director's death in 1999. 

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Here's what the next 'Planet of the Apes' movie will be about


caesar dawn of the planet of the apes

The next "Planet of the Apes" movie will hit theaters next July. Fox revealed the first teaser for "War for the Planet of the Apes" Thursday, but it didn't reveal much about the actual film. 

Thursday evening, Fox peeled back the curtain a bit more during a New York Comic Con panel for the movie.

INSIDER was at the event where director Matt Reeves gave us a taste at what to expect in the next "Planet of the Apes" movie.

war for the planet of the apes

Here's what we know:

The sequel will take place two years after 2014's "Dawn of the Planet of the Apes" where mankind is engaged in a war with the apes. The apes are suffering heavy casualties and after a while it starts to get to Caesar (Andy Serkis). Reeves described Caesar as being out for revenge. He sets out on a quest to kill a colonel, played by Woody Harrelson.

All the while, Caesar (Andy Serkis) is still haunted after killing ape Koba, the antagonist of the last film. 

"He's carrying a phenomenal amount of guilt about killing Koba," Serkis told the crowd. "His desire for revenge becomes dark and obsessive. Koba keeps coming into his mind."

Unlike previous films that have been told from the human's point of view or split between the humans and apes, Reeves revealed that this story will be told exclusively through Caesar's point of view. He claims the third film in the rebooted franchise "is so much bigger than the other films."

Reeves said the crew screened a bunch of movies for inspiration, including "Ben-Hur,""Apocalypse Now,""The Ten Commandments,""Platoon," and "The Thin Red Line."

The panel also showed off some behind-the-scenes footage for the film, a first-look at a scene from the movie, and the premiere of the film's first trailer. You can read more on Thursday night's panel here.

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Forget the scandal — ‘The Birth of a Nation' is just not a good movie


birth of a nation

After seeing “The Birth of a Nation,” Nate Parker's take on the tragic, violent story of Nat Turner's slave revolt, one will likely be confused about what prompted these "hosannas" from the Sundance Film Festival audience when the film debuted there in January. Did we watch the same thing?

Parker's film tells the story of Nat Turner, a slave and preacher prone to apocalyptic visions who lived in Southampton County, Virginia during the 19th century. Over a two-day period in August 1831, Turner and other slaves killed dozens of white men, women, and children. He and 18 of his alleged compatriots, were executed for their actions.

“The Birth of a Nation” sold at Sundance for a record-setting price of $17.5 million. Based on word of mouth, it was a powerful piece of art that resonated strongly with the acts of violence we've watched committed against black Americans by police these last few years. Now, in October, the conversation around the film has expanded to include the details of Nate Parker's 1999 rape case, a situation that he's not found a way to apologize for. (His screenwriting partner, Jean Celestin, was charged in the case as well.)

Walking into work one day, I learned that one of my co-workers, Ross Scarano (deputy editor of Complex Music), had seen “The Birth of a Nation” as well. We linked up over caffeinated beverages to discuss our feelings about “The Birth of a Nation,” trying to figure out how we got to this point and what Hollywood should really be dedicating its time to.

khal: I guess the best way to start this out is by saying that, as a black man living in America, I get the need for another slave film, especially one about someone as historic as Nat Turner...I’m just tired of them. After seeing “12 Years a Slave,” which was worth the hype and took the time to explore the characters around Solomon Northup, I just don’t feel that Nate Parker made a film that surpasses Steve McQueen’s, or adds anything new to this story.

Ross: In the New Yorker this summer, Kathryn Schulz wrote about how the Underground Railroad has been distorted by white historians and the white American imagination to make it appear more impactful than it actually was in terms of saving lives. It makes us feel better about slavery—I can imagine that if I had lived then, I’d have been one of the “good” white people. The flipside to that sort of reassuring mythmaking is the Nat Turner story, which is about bloodshed and retribution against white slaveholders by black slaves. But Parker fails to tell the Nat Turner story in a thoughtful, nuanced way. It’s a failure of a movie for a bunch of reasons.

khal: Which is deep, considering how late in the film we actually get Turner’s slave revolt. I get that we had to see what took Nat from being comfortable in his position to being driven to take the lives of multiple slave owners, but the overall failure to make this story riveting or engaging frustrated me. It just felt that Nat Turner was the only role Parker chose to build up, and the rest of the cast were just props; means to get to a violent end. Not to mention how flat some of the movie's images were, including the winged angel he saw in visions (who I didn’t even realize until later was supposed to be his wife).

Ross: So true. There are no developed characters in the movie besides Turner, and maaaybe Samuel (Armie Hammer), the slave owner who grew up alongside Turner. (It’s interesting that he’s, I think, the only character other than Turner who the camera shows us in a private moment. It’s a short shot of him drinking alone against a tree, seemingly torn up by guilt.)

The movie is only interested in Turner as this great man fated to do a remarkable thing. There are moments where you feel the movie fruitlessly trying to cover its bases and suggest the community that Turner came from, but like Vinson Cunningham points out in his great review, “The Birth of a Nation” tells a tale more akin to a superhero’s origin story.

Nate Parker Matt Winkelmeyer GettyExcept you don’t learn much about Turner. His defining characteristic is his work as a preacher, but the film makes only a meager investigation into his relationship with Christianity, which he was subjected to by one of his owners, rather than came to it on his own, or through his community. So, at any point does he believe what he’s preaching? We see how he comes to discount certain sections of the Bible, but what of his inner faith? How does he reconcile that with the native African spirituality invoked at the film’s beginning, during the ceremony at the campfire where he’s declared special?

khal: Samuel’s supposed guilt bothered me, primarily because it wasn’t like he was guilty enough to change. Nat made him feel “guilty” enough to straight-up buy Cherry (Aja Naomi King), the woman who ended up being Nat’s wife (after a bunch of coaxing and side-elbowing). The “guilt” of his failing plantation made it OK for him to lend out Nat’s preaching services for neighboring plantations. And his "guilt" drove him to stay drunk. Was I supposed to feel compassion for Samuel for that? Because I didn’t, even before he went down that alcohol slide.

And while I hate to dwell on the Nate Parker-sized elephant in the room—his rape case from 1999—the thing that New Yorker piece really drove home is how Nat Turner’s origin story involved him avenging his wife’s brutal rape...being portrayed by a man who was on trial for rape. I don’t know if Parker and Celestin (who co-wrote “Birth” and was charged with Parker in the same rape case) were even thinking about that aspect in relation to their actual lives, but no matter how you slice it, it’s troubling. With the various atrocities that slaves underwent in the film, it seems that the rape and beating of Nat Turner’s wife and the rape of Gabrielle Union’s character were the driving factors behind their revolt, and no matter how much one tries to separate the art from the artist, that bothered me. Especially because, as Soraya Nadia McDonald put it for The Undefeated, they were “onion paper-thin.”

You know what else bothered me? The weak point he tried to make at the end, when the kid who betrayed the slaves watched Turner be hanged with a tear in his eye, only to then be transported to a war with the same tear in his eye. If I had been drunk during the screening, and had some popcorn in hand, the entire box would’ve been thrown at the screen.

Ross: That guilt is negligible; I felt nothing. But I do find it suspect that the movie gives Samuel that private moment, which, like you said, potentially creates a quiet space for an empathetic reaction from the viewer or at least the time to consider this man’s inner workings. This is a dignity granted to none of the women in the film. And as you pointed out, the violation of women drives the narrative, though none of those women are afforded the amount of screen time that the white slave owner gets.

At the screening I attended, there was applause from the audience of—in my section at least—mostly older white women when Parker’s name appeared on screen. I wanted to crawl out of the theater.

What do you make of the decision to not show any of the sexual violence, but, you know, chipping one man’s entire set of teeth from his mouth is fair game? How does the conversation about the movie change if Parker depicts rape? Is he taking the easy way out by cutting away, or is it a mercy for the audience? (And tangentially related, how do you feel about the film’s semi-sanitized depiction of the uprising? In Turner’s testimony, he mentions killing children—the film doesn’t show this. It seems to me that the “The Birth of a Nation”’s unwillingness to wade into the moral complexity of killing a child is of a piece with its cropped imagination in other departments.)

the birth of a nation fox searchlightkhal: Again, I chalk a lot of this up to how amateur the film feels overall. I feel like you mentioned in passing how it felt like a bad TV movie, and I get that vibe completely. The violence depicted in “Birth” comes off more like “this is all we could get away with on television,” similar to hearing Cookie drop the F-word on Empire. It’s lightweight shock for a truly heavyweight topic.

For all of the hype that got thrown about some 10 months ago, I’m actually surprised that this is the film that people were applauding and spending $17.5 million to purchase. I mean, I get having to save face during the #OscarsSoWhite discussion, but I’d hate for “Birth” to be the film that Hollywood uses to say “stop it, we do like black cinema.”

Ross:“The Birth of a Nation” is going to go down as 2016’s “Crash”—a lousy movie that will linger because it was wrongfully canonized by studio executives and Oscar voters. That Best Picture win kept “Crash,” a ham-fisted, stupid movie, ricocheting around inside the public conversation when we should’ve passed it like a kidney stone. I’d hate for "The Birth of a Nation" movie to get canonized because execs at Sundance have bad bullshit detectors. It doesn’t deserve it. What Hollywood should do is make sure that Barry Jenkins' “Moonlight” is screened widely and regularly across the country this year.

SEE ALSO: 19 movies that have been banned around the world

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Filmmaker Doug Trumbull is creating a 21st Century movie theater experience


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Filmmaker Douglas Trumbull is creating a movie-theatre experience fit for the 21st century, MIT Technology Review reports.

Trumbull’s product is called Magi, which integrates virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) to create an unparalleled immersive movie experience. This service would breathe new life into moviegoing in an era of stagnating cinema attendance, and simultaneously propel consumer appetite for AR technology.

Trumbull knows a lot about quality filmmaking and designing visual effects. He directed the sci-fi cult classics "Brainstorm" and and "Silent Running," his first Hollywood job was designing visual effects for "2001: A Space Odyssey," before going on to do the visual effects for "Blade Runner," and "Closer Encounters of the Third Kind,""Star Trek: The Motion Picture," and "Tree of Life." This work has earned him a seat on the board of Magic Leap, the hyped and mysterious AR company.

Now, he's extending his talents to transform the viewing experience beyond the film screen and into the theatre. Here's is a summary of his exciting invention – called Magi: 

  • An integrated process. Magi is just as much a product as a process across film recording, picture projection, and theatre design that combines to create new levels of film immersion for movie audiences.
  • Recording and projection. To begin, Magi captures images 3D and 4K HD resolution. These images are in turn displayed at up to 120 frames per second – five times the usual projection rate. 
  • Optimized Magi theaters. Trumbull has developed a "Magi Pod" theater because only half of theaters worldwide are capable of playing films at Magi specifications.  
  • Small and prefabricated. This Pod is a prefabricated structure that can be shipped andassembled in a week. It fits 60 people within 1,300 square feet, and each seat faces the center of a 36-foot-wide by 17-foot-tall curved screen. A 32-channel, surround-sound system provides realistic audio. 
  • The amazing end result. The system produces to a picture that's much like AR, and miles more immersive than regular 3D or IMAX. Trumbull analogizes the viewing experience to Star Trek’s holodeck – where people can virtually inhabit a seemingly physical space. 

Futurizing the movie theatre experience could result in significant innovation spillovers. It's somewhat comparable to how virtual reality (VR) is going mainstream in China – where brick-and-mortal VR cafes are warming the market to emerging technology, with some retailers using spaces that aren't dissimilar from Magi Pods. Netflix is also trying to remold the cinema experience,premiering original films in iPic's upscale multiplexes. The idea of iPic showing enhanced 3D – or full-fledged VR/AR – films in the near future is not farfetched, especially given that Netflix already integrates with VR devices like Samsung Gear VR and Google Daydream

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